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AI might seem like HR’s savior, but it can also be a saboteur
By Koen Dewettinck  |  May 22, 2024
AI might seem like HR’s savior, but it can also be a saboteur
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Companies increasingly rely on AI to recruit and hire new talent, and the tech might soon be used to decide which employees to fire too. At first glance, this seems good because it reduces workloads for HR employees, but it is also controversial, writes Prof Koen Dewettinck.

GHENT, BELGIUM - “Unfortunately, whilst we really value you and enjoy having you as part of our company, our AI has decided to let you go. Apologies. We are not too sure why, but at this point, we will not be questioning the AI.”

The idea of artificial intelligence (AI) making managerial decisions - such as firing and hiring - is not far off, and Unilever and other companies are already using AI to almost completely run their recruitment practices. The integration of AI into management and human resources (HR) promises to enhance efficiency and streamline operations within businesses, but alongside these potential benefits are some significant hurdles that prevent AI from doing what is at its core a human-centered role. 

Such hazards include a difficulty in explaining AI-driven decisions and a risk of overreliance on AI, potentially diminishing human accountability and interaction within teams. While AI can undoubtedly augment managerial processes, human leadership remains essential for providing guidance, fostering collaboration, and ensuring ethical decision-making. AI does have some tempting HR expertise, however, so it will remain part of the equation, at least to some extent.

AI’s best bits

One compelling and oft-noted advantage of AI is its ability to analyze vast amounts of data. In performance management, AI integrates information from multiple sources - including feedback from peers, customers, and manager-employee interactions. This is an extremely comprehensive overview for which no HR manager could physically do without AI’s assistance - though not for a lack of trying. As a result, AI creates a more accurate assessment of individual contributions within teams, facilitating targeted interventions for skill development and performance improvement. Indeed, by assessing worker profiles and competency gaps, AI provides val

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